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News at HUC-JIR
HUC-JIR/New York Graduation and Ordination/Investiture Ceremonies 2010
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York will hold Graduation Ceremonies on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4 p.m. and Ordination/Investiture Ceremonies on Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 9 am. The convocations will take place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York (10 East 66th Street entrance for Graduation; Fifth Avenue at 65th Street entrance for Ordination/Investiture). Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, said, "The Class of 2010 emerges from the College-Institute imbued with leadership skills, steeped in knowledge, strengthened by a commitment to service, and dedicated to bringing hope and healing to our troubled world. As they touch the lives of others through their sacred work as rabbis, cantors, educators, communal professionals, scholars, and pastoral care-givers throughout North America and around the world, they will be a source of inspiration and guidance." Rabbi Ellenson will present honorary degrees and awards to leading academic, communal, and civic leaders, award earned degrees to HUC-JIR's graduates, ordain the Rabbinical Class of 2010, and invest the Cantorial Class of 2010. Please click here to view the national invitation. More...
Ambassador Gabriela Shalev to Receive 2010 Dr. Bernard Heller Prize
Rabbi David Ellenson has announced that the 2010 Dr. Bernard Heller Prize will be awarded to Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The award will be presented at the HUC-JIR/New York Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, April 29 at 4 pm at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, 10 East 66th Street, New York City. Rabbi Ellenson said, "Born in British Mandate Palestine, Ambassador Shalev is a member of the founding generation of the modern State of Israel and an eye-witness to its creation. Now, as Israel's representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Shalev employs her extraordinary skills to strengthen Israel's diplomatic relations with the nations of the world and to advocate for Israel's right to security and peace." More...
Dr. Dean Lorich to Receive Roger E. Joseph Prize for Humanitarian Medical Rescue Work
Rabbi David Ellenson has announced that the 2010 Roger E. Joseph Prize will be awarded to Dr. Dean Lorich for his humanitarian medical rescue work with victims of the earthquake in Haiti and with severely wounded soldiers medivaced from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ceremony will take place during Ordination and Investiture Services at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 9 am, when 22 new rabbis will be ordained and 9 new cantors will be invested. The Roger E. Joseph Prize recognizes individuals making lasting contributions to the causes of human rights and Jewish survival and sustaining values and ideals of Judaism. Please click here to view a video about Dr. Dean Lorich. More...
Dr. Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, to Receive Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa
Dr. Leon Botstein, President and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Bard College, and Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at HUC-JIR's Graduation Ceremonies in New York. The convocation will take place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4 pm. Dr. Botstein will present the Graduation Address. "We are honored to recognize the distinguished achievement of Leon Botstein, whose vision and energy has promoted innovations in higher education and advanced the growth and vitality of Bard College," said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President. "As a consummate musician, he has created a new paradigm as an internationally respected music director whle providing singular leadership to his university." More...
Barbara Friedman, Past Chair, HUC-JIR Board of Governors, to Receive Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa
Barbara Benioff Friedman, the first woman to lead HUC-JIR's Board of Governors in its 135-year-long history, will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at HUC-JIR's Graduation Ceremonies in New York. The convocation will take place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4 p.m. Barbara Friedman was inducted as Chair on January 1, 2007. Rabbi Ellenson stated, "I am enormously grateful to Barbara Friedman for her friendship, support, and dedicated leadership as Chair for the past three years. She has been the moving force in the development of a new strategic plan that will sustain our academic excellence, help us achieve financial sustainability, and further strengthen our mission as one, integrated institution. We look forward to her continued involvement in the implementation of our "New Way Forward." The College-Institute has surely been and will remain blessed by her ongoing commitment and dedication to this institution and our mission." More...
Dr. David B. Ruderman, Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and Darivoff Director, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, to Receive Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa
Dr. David B. Ruderman, Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History and Darivoff Director, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will received the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at HUC-JIR's Graduation Ceremonies in New York. The convocation will take place at Congregation Emanu-el in the City of New York on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4 pm. "As a renowned academician, Dr. David Ruderman's understanding, intellectual stature, and administrative skill have placed him as a leader in Jewish academic life," stated Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President. "His expertise in medieval and early modern Jewish history has influenced the international academy, the rabbinate, and the Jewish community in America. His prolific publications and dynamic leadership represent the epitome of the academic ideal." More...
HUC-JIR/WUPJ Pesach Project 2010 Report
For the eighth consecutive year, 14 HUC-JIR students traveled to three countries in the Former Soviet Union to conduct Passover seders and engage multi-generational communities in Jewish worship and learning. This year, in partnership with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, three groups went to Belarus, three groups went to Ukraine, and one group went to Russia.

Belarus: Baranovichi-Vitebsk - Rachel Kaplan and Albert Marks
Belarus: Mogilev-Bobriusk - Molly Plotnik and Dave Mintz
Belarus: Grodno-Lida - Keara Cummings and Monica Meyers
Ukraine: Simferopil-Yevpatoria-Kerch - Jeremy Simons and Bess Wohlner
Ukraine: Odessa-Poltava - Andrew and Brandon
Ukraine: Lutsk-Lvov - Josh Beraha and Nani Abrams
Russia: Chelyabinsk-Tyumen - Ally Tick and Amanda Greene

Click here for the first slide show of their trip. Click here for the second slide show of their trip. More...
Rhea Hirsch School of Education Students Publish Contributions to the Field
Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, inaugural recipient of the Professor Sara S. Lee Chair for an Emerging Scholar in Jewish Education, writes: "Each year, in a course called the Sociology of Jewish Education, my students are immersed in the practice and purpose of professional writing, along with the range of social science tools that can be used to inform those written expressions, culminating in writing workshops to develop a "Contribution to the Field," or "CTF." These "CTFs" address one of the many "contested arenas" in Jewish education, determine "what's at stake," provide social scientific (historical, sociological, psychological, etc.) context for the issue, and strive to offer a bold new creative analysis of the dilemma. Thanks to Lynn Flanzbaum, director of the Tartak Jewish Educational Resource Center, the full text of all the articles can be found at: In addition, click here for shortened versions of the students' articles that have just been published in the URJ's publication, "Torah at the Center." Allowing for discourse and dialogue between students and professionals in the field, URJ editor Wendy Grinberg invited one education practitioner or academic to respond to each of the student's pieces in that same issue, creating an organic series of conversations about some of the field's most difficult, but also most inspiring, dilemmas. The students would be happy to engage in dialogue with you, too, if you have any questions or reactions. If you would like to offer your own responses, please feel free to send them to me at:" More...
Yom Hashoah Commemorated at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
The HUC-JIR/Jerusalem community observed Yom Hashoah with programs jointly planned by the students in the Year-In-Israel Program students and Israel Rabbinical Program. The day began with Shacharit services led by YII students Matt Zerwekh and Andy Dubin, with cantorial student Steven Long. The sermons reflecting on Holocaust remembrance were presented by YII student Jeremy Simons and IRP student Merav Kalush. The YII Choir performed a moving rendition of "Ani Maamin." IRP students Gila Kane and Esteban Gottfried organized a unique and powerful ceremony, open to the public, which was based on David Roskies's "Nightwords - a Midrash on the Holocaust." It included the reading of the names of relatives of participants who perished in the Holocaust. A day of study followed, during which students and faculty offered study sessions in Hebrew or in English on 16 topics, ranging from music and poetry of the Shoah and particular geographical communities during the Holocaust, to text study on theological and educational questions. "This intensive, cooperative venture linking stateside and Israeli students demonstrated that more opportunities for shared experience and learning should be planned in the future," stated Marc Rosenstein, Director, Israel Rabbinical Program. More...
Jewish Funds for Justice to Recognize Rabbi Stephanie Kolin at Women of Valor Award Celebration
Jewish Funds for Justice will hold its signature Women of Valor awards celebration on Tuesday, April 27 in New York City. Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, a 2006 graduate of HUC-JIR/New York, will be honored this year. The Women of Valor Award celebrates the achievements of outstanding Jewish women who lead through their activism, accomplishments, philanthropy, and commitment to social justice. This year's honorees will receive the Women of Valor Award in a ceremony hosted by Rabbi Jennie Rosenn. More...
HUC-JIR in the News
Thoughtful Israel Engagement - HUC-JIR's Blog of Continuing Jewish Learning
Long gone are the days when marking Yom Hazikaron, Yom Haatzmaut, and later Yom Yerushalyim were marked with relative ease. Political complexities both in the United States and Israel complicate our ability to talk about Israel. Facilitating conversations about Israel demands the ability to hold on to multiple narratives about Israel's past and present. It means allowing different opinions but demanding civility. Additionally, it can be challenging to know how to interpret the myriad of news stories about Israel that come to us through traditional and new media sources. Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder offers an array of helpful resources for engaging with Israel. More...
Ellis Rivkin, 91, Scholar -
Dr. Ellis Rivkin challenged and influenced generations of students during his more than half-century career as Adolph S. Ochs Professor Emeritus of Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Those who knew him describe him as a man of scholarship and vision who loved to share his views with his students, friends and colleagues. Rivkin died April 7 at Jewish Hospital, Cincinnati after a short illness. He was 91. Services took place April 11 at HUC-JIR's Chapel in Cincinnati. "He was a very remarkable man," said Michael A. Meyer, a friend and former student. Meyer later became Dr. Rivkin's successor as the Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History. "He was a historian who always looked at the big picture instead of the details," he said. "He was unorthodox, always questioning the conventional view on historical subjects." More...
Photographer Susan Silas Retraces A Holocaust Death March - Art Knowledge News
Susan Silas' photo exhibition, Helmbrechts Walk, 1998-2003, is a memorial testament to the forced march of 580 female Jewish prisoners at the end of the Second World War. The march began on April 13th, 1945 in order to evacuate Helmbrechts, a small satellite unit of the Flossenburg concentration camp before American troops arrived. Silas' work acts as a visual representation of the 225 miles that the prisoners were forced to walk from the camp in Germany into occupied Czechoslovakia. Susan Silas: Helmbrechts Walk, 1998-2003 is currently on view at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum. More...
Two Torahs, Two Holocaust Stories, and One Big Question - New York Times
One Torah, said to have been in Auschwitz, has been in the ark at one of New York's most prominent synagogues since 2008. A second Torah joined it on Monday night, as the synagogue, Central Synagogue in Manhattan, observed Holocaust Remembrance Week. The Torah in the ark since 2008, according to a Maryland rabbi who said he had found it, had been sneaked into Auschwitz and saved by a Polish priest after it had been entrusted to him by Jewish prisoners. "As one who has gone to the camps and assimilates into my being the horror of the Holocaust," Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein (HUC-JIR/New York '69) said at the time, "this gives meaning to Jewish survival." More...
Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony with Rabbi Laszlo "Larry" Berkowits - The Town Talk
"There is a silence and an emptiness there," Rabbi Laszlo "Larry" Berkowits (HUC-JIR/Cincinnati '63) said as he described his experience of revisiting his birthplace. "There are few signs that we lived there." Berkowits was from the small town of Derecske, Hungary, when he went with his father as a teenager to Budapest for work. After arriving, however, they became one of the last groups of Jews rounded up by the Nazis and sent by freight train to a concentration camp near Auschwitz, Poland in June 1944. Berkowits later came to the United States, joined the U.S. Army and complete doctoral studies at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, but it was years before he could talk about his experiences with people other than fellow survivors. In fact, the now 82-year-old retired senior rabbi published his memoirs, "The Boy Who Lost His Birthday," less than two years ago. More...
Upcoming Events
Student Services, Sermons, Practica, Recitals, Thesis Presentations, and more!
Cincinnati - at 10:50 am unless otherwise noted:
Apr. 24: Leading Services: Aaron Miller
Apr. 26: Leading Services: Elana Sondel and Jordan Helfman
Apr. 27: Leading Services: Courtney Berman
Apr. 28: Leading Services: Jimmy Stoloff
Apr. 29: Leading Services: Rabbi Kanter/CYS and Meredith Kahan

Los Angeles - at 10 am:
Apr. 26: Schaliach Tzibbur: Adam Wright; Reading Torah: Rebecca Reice; D'var Torah: Sara Abrams; Gabbai: Tamara Wheatley
Apr. 29: Schaliach Tzibbur: Adam Wright and Cantor Kent; Reading Torah: Tamara Wheatley; D'var Torah: JCS Masters Candidate; Gabbai: Rebecca Reice; Service Honoring Graduates

New York - at 10 am unless otherwise noted:
Apr. 26: Rabbi: Evan Schultz; Cantor: Tracy Fishbein; Reading Torah: Amy Goodman; Gabbai: Sara Luria

Apr. 24 at 9:30 am: Leading Services: Lara Regev; Dvar Torah: Carolan Glatstein
Apr. 26 at 9 am: Drasha: Tlalit Shavit; Shaliah zibur: Or Zohar
Apr. 29 at 8:30 am: Leading Services: Allie Harris; Dvar Torah: Andrew Terkel More...
Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities
Professor Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy at HUC-JIR/New York, will join Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, and JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen in a conversation titled "Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities." The Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner and The Jewish Theological Seminary will host this event on Tuesday, April 27, 7:30pm at BJPA at NYU Wagner. RSVP required to or (212) 280-6093. More...
The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology - Lecture 4/29 at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem
Please join HUC-JIR/Jerusalem and The Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology as Leore Grosman presents "A 12,000 Year Old Cemetery in the Lower Galilee." The lecture, conducted in Hebrew, is designed to present the results of recent archaeological research to the general public in Israel. It will take place on April 29th at 5:00 pm at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. Admission is free. The series is supported by the Fellner Foundation and its Trustee, Mr. Frederick L. Simmons of Los Angeles. More...
Faculty News
HUC-JIR is proud of our accomplished faculty:
Reuven Firestone, Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, has had his book, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (Ktav) translated into Arabic as Dhuriyyat Ibrahim: Muqaddama `an al-Yahudiyya lil-Muslimin. To view the free online version, please click here.
Nili S. Fox, Professor of Bible, Director of the Archaeology Center in Cincinnati, and incoming Director of the School of Graduate Studies at HUC-JIR, will be scholar in residence on the Princess Cruise from New York to Nova Scotia, August 14-21, 2010. The theme of Dr. Fox's presentations is "Bible and Archaeology: Wedded Bliss or Estranged Bedfellows." Topics covered in her slide lectures will include:
  1. How Does Archaeology Elucidate Biblical Texts - Or Does It?
  2. Israelite Slavery in Egypt and the Exodus - Textual and Archaeological Evidence
  3. Israelite Religious Practices - From Polytheism to Monotheism
  4. HUC's Excavations at Tel Dan - the House of David Stele and Other Key Finds
  5. Unearthing the United Monarchy of David and Solomon
  6. Jerusalem the Royal Judean Capital - How It Survived the Assyrians but Succumbed to the Babylonians.
The mini-course at sea is organized by the American Institute of Archaeology/Long Island Society for its members. Friends of HUC-JIR are welcome to join the group. For further information please contact Nili Fox at
Rabbi David Wilfond, Regional Director of Admissions at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, led a recruitment program on April 18, 2010. He spent the afternoon with twenty-five 8th graders from the Temple Sinai North Dade Reform Day School learning about the role of HUC-JIR in Reform Judaism in Israel and around the world. Rabbi David Wilfond said, "Our hope is that these meaningful experiences on an HUC-JIR campus might spark a young leader to begin the path to the rabbinate, cantorate, and a life of Jewish leadership."
New at the HUC-JIR Judaica Gallery
The main branch of Entwined, a limited edition Shabbat candlestick holder by master metalsmith Genevieve Flynn, is a hollow piece of sterling silver. This form is entwined with a grapevine of handforged sterling silver wire where four sterling silver grape leaves rest. Three of the leaves have candle sleeves to hold Shabbat candles. For a full description of Entwined, please click here. $3,4000 plus shipping and handling. To purchase, please contact: 212-824-2218,

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Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals and offers graduate and post-graduate degree programs for scholars of all faiths. With campuses in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, and Jerusalem, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise renowned library, and museum collections, the American Jewish Archives, biblical archaeology excavations, research centers and institutes, and academic publications. HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs that illuminate Jewish history, culture, and contemporary creativity, and foster interfaith and multi-ethnic understanding. Visit us at

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